Alexander McCall Smith, Jung Chang, and Felicity Dahl in 2024 New Year Honours List

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Wild Swans author Dr Jung Chang, novelist Alexander McCall Smith, and charity fundraiser Felicity Dahl are among more than 1,200 people who have received awards in the UK for their exceptional achievements in the King's New Year Honours List 2024.

Last year's honours list included Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library (still recovering from last year's cyber attack) and literary biographer Dame Hermione Lee.

Best known for his The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Scottish writer McCall Smith (previously a CBE) receives a knighthood for services to literature, academia and charity. Dr Jung Chang, whose most recent title is Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister published in 2019, is awarded an CBE for services to literature and history. Felicity Dahl becomes a Dame for services to philanthropy, literature and young people. The widow of writer Roald Dahl, she set up the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity which works in partnership with the NHS to provide specialist nurses and support for seriously ill children living with complex, lifelong conditions.

Other recipients in King Charles III’s second New Year’s Honours list  include:

* Popular bestselling novelist Jilly Cooper (previously a CBE) who is made a Dame for services to literature and charity who commented: "I am absolutely and incredibly bowled over. I cannot believe I am a DBE, which in my case also stands for ’delighted, bewildered and ecstatic’."

* Illustrator Charlie Mackesy becomes an OBE for services to art and literature following the huge success of his book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse

* Novelist and co-founder of The Women's Prize for  Fiction, Kate Mosse, receives a CBE for services to literature, women and charity, and is described in the citation as "a champion of diversity and female equality".  

* Carol Stump, president of Libraries Connected, is made an MBE for her services to public libraries

* Historian Professor Andrew Pettegree who specialises in the history of the book receives a CBE for services to literature. His latest book is The Book at War, looking at the relationship between war and literature

* Children’s reading expert Ruth Miskin, whose company Read Write Inc promotes literacy in schools, is made a dame for services to education